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Sam Bankman-Fried’s final con game – Fortune

Sam Bankman Fried, FTX co-founder. Victor J. Blue—Bloomberg/Getty Images

If you are a 31-year-old charged with a serious crime, the normal course of action is to take a plea bargain to reduce your sentence and hope for the best in front of a judge. You too will probably be prepared to spend decades in prison. Unless, of course, you are wealthy and well-connected. Then you can try another strategy.

Take Sam Bankman Freed, for example. Despite facing mountains of evidence showing he had perpetrated the largest fraud in U.S. history, he chose to roll the dice in a three-week trial. Bankman Freed was called away by the jury after less than four hours because of trouble. And now, when he faces a maximum sentence of more than 100 years in prison when he appears before a judge next month, he is doing something else only the wealthy and qualified can do. He is looking for a way out of the whole mess.

as new york times report On Tuesday night, Bankman Freed hired “a new lawyer known for his courtroom showmanship” and another high-profile lawyer to work on the difficult appeal. He also enlists the law professor’s parents – a Bay Area power couple known to Stanford campus residents as “Barb and Joe” – to work on his legal issues and keep everyone informed about the poor young man. We are organizing a sympathy campaign to show why it is wrong.

All of this is “a long-term strategy orchestrated by Mr. Bankman Freed’s family and friends to overturn his conviction and orchestrate a public reassessment of his leadership at FTX.” .of times This is evidenced by the fact that Bankman Fried’s team waits for sympathetic articles to be removed before filing numerous letters and arguments in court to strengthen their position. Nor does the article raise embarrassing questions about how the Bankman-Fried family pays gold-plated lawyers and PR firms whose monthly fees start at $50,000.


The likely answer is that Mr. Bankman-Fried’s parents are paying their bills with the $10 million in aid they requested from his father in legal fees. The funds came from the vault of a cryptocurrency company that went bankrupt amid a slew of fraud. This is bad enough, but it gets even more unpleasant when you read things like: this: “His lawyers said Bankman Freed was not motivated by greed but by a desire to better the world through philanthropy. Goods and luxuries were of no use to him, they said.”

Really? please remember. He’s the same guy who lives in luxurious villas, likes to jet-set around the world, and rubs shoulders with the likes of Tom Brady and Katy Perry at lavish events. There’s nothing material or extravagant about it. Bankman Fried’s parents received not only a refund of $10 million (in the case of the father) from the FTX estate; $16.4 million mansion In the Bahamas it’s in their name.

This makes the parents’ current attempt to “orchestrate a public reassessment” of Sam extremely upsetting. They remind us at every turn that Sam shouldn’t go unpunished for robbing a customer because he’s on the spectrum or because he’s the victim of a cruel media caricature. Let me do it. and so on. What they don’t say is that Sam is a 31-year-old man who grew up with all the privileges in the world, and he shows every sign of being a liar and a sociopath.

You can’t blame Barb and Joe for doing everything in their power to protect their child. Any parent would do the same. But if they really wanted to show love and help their son, they could just stop talking about how special Sam is, just for once.

jeff john roberts
jeff.roberts@fortune.com
@jeffjohnroberts

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